Phnom Penh’s urban artistic renaissance

Phnom Penh is enjoying an urban artistic renaissance, a revitalisation of Khmer contemporary music and art culture which is as fast and exciting as the development of the capital itself. The reasons for this revival are numerous and complicated, but it includes the influence of the increasing presence of international artists, a vibrant local art and music scene and numerous organisations who aim to encourage and rejuvenate Khmer artistic expression.

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Under the ink: Tola, The Village Tattooist

Nowadays it seems as if every man, woman and his/her dog in the western world is ‘inked up’. The last couple of decades have seen an explosion of ‘body art’. Gone are the days when tattoo parlours were the domain of Maoris, pissed up sailors and those used to taking regular holidays in Her Majesty’s finest institutions. From sports stars to Hollywood A-Z listers and right down to sink hole estate trash, everyone has gone under the needle.

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Adjusting to life in Cambodia

Clarke Illmatical describes his attempts to adjust to live in Cambodia and the way the locals think and behave, and on the way learns how to deal with face, why white girl / localguy relationships are doomed to fail and – closer to home – how he is perceived as a black man in Cambodia.

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Tales of the Superstitious

Do you have any superstitions? Salute solitary magpies, count rosary beads, throw spilled salt over your shoulder, have an irrational fear of the number 13, which is antagonised further when that day of the month falls on a Friday? Such irrational beliefs, to ‘normal’ people in the west without OCD,…

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The Legend of the Aap

Pedro takes a look at the body-less monster of Khmer villages, the Aap. “Do you believe in ghosts?” is a question sometimes asked after conversations about rice and money have been exhausted. “Believe!” is the emphatic answer. When prodded on the subject further, the admission is usually “Believe, but never…

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Rice Work If You Can Get It

Pedro joins village Khmer women in the fields harvesting rice. Rice – the bane of my life. Don’t get me wrong, it’s ok and fills an empty stomach, but to be honest it lacks a certain culinary flair, especially when it’s heaped out into my bowl every day. Breakfast is…

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